Duck Ragu with pasta is something I always order when I see it on a menu. It's not really a dish most people would consider cooking at home because it seems hard but once I had a go of it myself, I found it really is so easy and simple to do. A little bit of time and love is all it takes to enjoy a luscious, flavoursome duck ragu made from scratch.
A slow cooked ragu with pasta is so comforting to me especially in the cooler months, but really, I wouldn't say no to it any time of year! #pastaforever #ragulife All the finely chopped vegetables in this recipe are great to sneak some goodness into kids (and adults) diets, and if your knife skills aren't quite up to scratch, a super fast shortcut would be to throw everything through the grating attachment in the food processer. Once it cooks down, it will all just be part of the sauce and the kiddos will be none the wiser. If the 2hr cooking time is putting you off, a slow cooker will do all the work for you. Just throw everything in at the start of the day and come home to a beautiful ragu where all you have left to do is shred the meat and boil some pasta. The flavour isn't quite the same without all the browning and sautéing but it's still pretty bloody good. Any pasta will work with this, so use what you have, or I usually let my kids have their choice of the pasta aisle. I find getting them involved- even with just the shopping- makes them much more likely to eat and enjoy my cooking.
“Duck marylands can be hard to find sometimes and unfortunately, you can't substitute duck breasts which are much more readily available. I've found that Harris Farm supermarkets have a steady supply, as well as most butchers. If you can't manage to get your hands on some, chicken marylands will do the job, or lamb shanks would be wonderful.”
Duck Ragu an original recipe by Kimberley Kells
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children
4 Duck Marylands
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 Stalk of Celery, finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Sprig of Rosemary, finely chopped
6 Stalks of Thyme, whole
3 Strips of Orange Rind (use a vegetable peeler)
1 Small Pinch of Saffron
400g Tin of Crushed Tomatoes
1 Litre of Chicken Stock
500g Pasta (any)
Step 1- Season the duck with salt and pepper, then in a wide pot or deep frying pan, place the duck skin side down and turn on the heat to medium/high without any oil. The fat will render out of the duck and allow it to fry, browning the skin. Remove and set aside.
Step 2- In that same pot, sauté using the rendered duck fat: onion, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme, orange rind, saffron until soft.
Step 3- Add the duck back into the pot, add in crushed tomatoes and pour the stock over, until covered.
Step 4- Cover with a lid and simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone.
Step 5- Remove the thyme stalks and orange peel and discard. Carefully remove the duck and shred, discarding the bones. Add the meat back into the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Step 6- Simmer the sauce and duck all together and reduce until its thickened slightly. The texture should be like a thick soup. Meanwhile, boil your chosen pasta until al dente in heavily salted water.
Step 7- Combine the pasta and a cup of pasta water with the ragu and serve with parmesan cheese and chilli oil (if you're feeling spicy).